Monasticism and Marriage

Blessed Nativity Feast!

Is there a law or at least an order that was given to the monasteries that new monks and nuns could not have been married before? 

I know in the early Coptic Church, there were many instances where if the partner passes away, the other would go to the monastery. Today, this is not the case and it is rare/ non-existent, decided upon case-by-case. 

Is there such a thing or has it become more of societal matter since more are entering monasticism?


  • I think @minatasgeel and @ophadece can suit you for this thread.
    God Bless
  • Thanks @Jojo_Hanna for your confidence in me, but I have no idea about this subject!
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • Well to my knowledge, there are no laws that prohibit so. The same way that there are no laws that prohibit Bishops to be wedded, but it has become the habit to not do so. These are what we call “unwritten laws” if that helps.
    Back then it was the norm, but was acceptable and somewhat usual to have previously been married then seeking Monastic orders.
    They would even bring their children and raise them in the monastery!
    Meaning, if a father and a mother decides that they wanted to live their lives for Christ, the father would take the son and depart to the monastery, likewise the mother would take her daughter and go to a nunnery.

    Nowadays, there are certain rules or criteria that a candidate seeking monasticism SHOULD meet. For example, they could not enter the monastery before the age of 21 (if I remember correctly) or after the age of 35 (if I still remember correctly), although some of the biggest saints got tonsured at 12 or 14 years old!
    You must have completed your education and have graduated. (Some monks, now even Bishops, did not graduate, but we’re still seen fit for Monasticism!)

    So the rules are there to guide but not to form, meaning that if you seek monasticism but are 36 years old, they will not reject you.. Or say that you did not complete University but the Bishop has known you since your childhood and knows how inclined you are to the monastic life, he will not reject you for that...

    The rules are there to maintain order, but they are not order in themselves.

    I hope that helps a little.

    God Bless!
  • It really depends on the situation. It's not the simple for anyone to take the vow of monasticism these days mainly because the world is so awful outside, that it sounds logical to just separate yourself from it. BUT, that's not how monasticism is--to live outside in the same way as inside the monastery. That why it takes time and guidance to be accepted into a monastery/convent on the track to become a monk/nun.

    That being said, it's also not enough to just 'be married before.' If one was once married, what happened in that marriage?! Are they still married legally? Were they widowed? Were they divorced or annulled?  All of these questions are just few of many to be answered. 
  • @Jojo_Hanna thank you for your response, I was thinking if there was one of those rules or criteria that one should meet to take monastic orders that did not permit/encourage marriage before monasticism, as a modern rule since as you mentioned in the past it was the norm. But I understand that those are just guidelines and not strictly reinforced in all situations. Thanks.

    @minatasgeel I agree with you that nowadays taking monastic orders is different because of all the strife and tribulations that we are faced with. I was thinking of a general rule that was laid out for such a case but all the questions you mentioned should be definitely be taken into consideration. Thanks. 
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